“Nasarawa Election Fraud Trial Takes a Twist as Governor Sule’s Witnesses Accuse INEC of Manipulation

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By Daniel Edu

In the ongoing trial of the election fraud case at the Nasarawa state Governorship Election Petition Tribunal (GEPT), a significant development unfolded on Thursday when Governor A.A. Sule took the stand as the first witness for the second respondent’s lead counsel.

Ishaq Abubakar Dan’azumi, the witness, hailing from Wuse ward and serving as the APC Ward Agent for the Awe Local Government Area (LGA), introduced a conflicting narrative by alleging that it was not the APC votes that suffered reduction, but rather, the votes in favor of PDP that were artificially inflated.

Under rigorous cross-examination, Dr. Okutepa, the PDP Lead Counsel, probed Dan’azumi regarding his endorsement of the ward results. Dan’azumi affirmed the accuracy of his signature and insisted that the results had been faithfully transcribed from form EC8As to form EC8BS. He went on to reveal that the APC had not lodged any petitions concerning vote reduction or the addition of votes for the PDP.

The second witness, Abdullahi Hashim Danlami, who acted as the APC Ward Agent for Makwakiji Electoral ward in Awe LGA, testified that the elections transpired peacefully without any untoward incidents. However, he expressed concern over irregularities in the results from polling unit 005, where he alleged a decrease in APC votes and a simultaneous increase in PDP votes. Danlami asserted that he promptly reported this anomaly to the INEC Collation officer, asserting that despite his concerns, the integrity of the results he endorsed remained intact.

During the ensuing cross-examination by Dr. Okutepa, doubts emerged about the veracity of Danlami’s claim regarding reporting the incident to the INEC Collation officer at the Ward level. Dr. Okutepa pointedly noted the absence of any such complaint in Danlami’s official witness statement, hinting at the possibility of insufficient concrete evidence. Moreover, it was revealed that Danlami’s understanding of the polling unit events was largely based on oral communication.

Abdullahi Jalal Usman, a resident of Akiri ward in Awe LGA, testified to the proper utilization of BVAS Machines and the accurate uploading of results onto the IREV platform by INEC. However, he did point out discrepancies in the calculation of results for certain units, where both APC and PDP scores seemed to have been miscalculated. Despite these discrepancies, Usman lauded INEC for its overall conduct during the elections.

Subsequent cross-examination by Dr. Okutepa exposed that Usman’s claim of being the APC ward Agent was contestable and that his interpretation of the results might have been influenced by his legal representation. His credibility came into question as it became evident that his grasp of the actual occurrences at the polling units was limited.

Ahmed Abubakar Sarki, hailing from Keffi LGA, confirmed the usage of BVAS Machines and the subsequent uploading of results to IREV. Sarki alleged that the results from two specific polling units, Angwan Nupawa 006 and Angwan Yorubawa 017, displayed clear signs of vote manipulation, including a decrease in APC votes and an increase in PDP votes. However, his oral testimony appeared to be at odds with his written statement.

Kassim Tonko Kassim’s testimony followed a similar pattern, as he cited discrepancies in the APC and PDP vote counts in Angwan Kwara of Angwan Rimi, Keffi LGA. However, Kassim admitted to lacking concrete evidence of his role as an APC Agent for the mentioned units, thereby casting doubts on his overall credibility. He also noted the absence of the pink result copies.

Representing Yara ward of Keffi LGA, Abdullahi Al-Kassim highlighted notable differences between EC8AS and EC8BS results. He implored the tribunal to rectify the alleged manipulations, implicating both APC and PDP. However, uncertainties arose regarding his agent status, as his provided name and signature failed to align with the official records of the polling unit.”

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